Family rallies as Peter Greste spends his first day in jail

JAILED Australian journalist Peter Greste has spent the first day of his seven-year prison sentence behind bars in Egypt, as his family and the government refuse to give up the fight to bring him home.

The award-winning reporter with Al-Jazeera was on Monday afternoon Australian time convicted on charges of producing false news reports and assisting the Muslim Brotherhood, a terrorist organisation.

On Tuesday, Egyptian chargé d'affaires Sherif Abdelaziz Bedeir Hussein was called in by acting foreign affairs secretary Gillian Bird who conveyed Australia's anger at the conviction.

The diplomatic pressure from Australia follows a moving and emotional press conference earlier in the day.

Peter's parents Juris and Lois appeared shaken and upset while vowing to fight for the freedom of their son and for freedom of the press.

Peter was convicted alongside fellow Al Jazeera reporters Mohamed Fhamy and Baher Mohamed who were sentenced to seven and 10 years respectively.

Mr Greste said he lacked the words to say how shattered he was after learning of their son's conviction on Monday evening.

"Although we considered a range of other outcomes, you can never prepare yourself for something as painful as this," Mr Greste said.

"However, we are absolutely determined and committed to continue this battle until Peter, as well as his colleagues, are all out of prison and free to do and go wherever the decide.

"The campaign for media freedom and free speech must never end."

Mr Greste said extradition arrangements between Australia and Egypt were unclear, muddying their hopes of having a deal struck to have him serve his term in Australia.

His parents are now considering whether to launch an appeal to the decision.

"What pains me personally is the knowledge that where he is being held, certainly by Australian standards would be considered conditions of severe punishment," Mr Greste said.

"If anything like that continues, I'm depressed at the thought he may have to stay in a place like that for the duration of the appeals process which I understand can last many months."

Prime Minister Tony Abbott said the government would not begin "unhelpful megaphone diplomacy" with Egypt despite saying he was "shocked, dismayed, really bewildered" by the decision.

Al Jazeera English managing director Al Anstey said the verdict went against "logic, sense and any semblance of justice", calling for the judgment to be overturned.

Topics:  al-jazeera egypt journalism peter greste

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